Zinedine Zidane has admitted that Real Madrid will have to make do without Eden Hazard for longer than first anticipated.
Since leaving Chelsea for the Spanish capital last summer, Hazard has made only 22 appearances in all competitions for Real Madrid and is yet to feature this season.
The latest setback means the 29-year-old might have to wait until after the November international break before playing again, despite Zidane’s initial hope that he’d be available much sooner.
Speaking ahead of Real’s Champions League opener at home to Shakhtar Donetsk, Zidane said (quoted by Marca): “His injury was more than expected, but he has already stepped out onto the field.
“I fully trust the people who work with him and I hope that soon we can see Hazard forever. We want him to come in and be with us all season.”
Hazard, who is a former PFA Player of the Year, made the switch to the Santiago Bernabeu last summer after years of speculation about his future. The deal could end up costing Real Madrid £150m in total, subject to bonus payments and performance related add-ons.
But the Belgian has been unable to settle in Madrid, owing to a number of injury problems. There have also been concerns over his weight, but his latest problem is confirmed to be a muscular issue in his right leg.
In a short statement, Real Madrid wrote: “Following tests carried out today on our player, Eden Hazard, by Real Madrid Medical Services, he has been diagnosed with a muscle injury in his right leg and his recovery will continue to be assessed.”
Hazard has already spent over 200 days on Real Madrid’s treatment table, missing more than 30 games – which accounts for over half the time he’s been unavailable throughout his entire career. As well as missing the game with Shakhtar, Hazard is unlikely to feature against Monchengladbach, Inter and Valencia, as well as missing the first Clasico of the campaign.